How to Build an Authentic, Purpose-Driven Brand

In the midst of the pandemic, brands that operate with the consumer and community in mind are the ones that stand out. Companies everywhere have pulled tone-deaf ads, while some have pivoted their business to develop essential products. 

An underlying purpose of what makes a brand relevant to its customers should be at the core of every brand’s vision and mission. This is particularly true in a crisis where consumers weigh their purchase decisions in this economic climate. 

Why? Because it makes business sense 

Profitability and purpose are not mutually exclusive. Kantar’s Purpose in Asia report found that “90% of consumers want brands to get involved in the issues they care about, meaning that an authentic brand purpose is now an expectation not a bonus”. 

But what’s the harm in not having a purpose? 

Well, according to Accenture, businesses lose up to half their customers, with 17% never coming back to brands that don’t serve a larger purpose. Earning brand loyalty is not as simple as giving away free products or making a one-time donation. 

5 steps to build a purpose-driven brand

Start from your brand DNA

Your brand purpose shouldn’t be disconnected from your core business. You should know how your products and expertise can create an impact on your consumers – and this should be a long-term strategy, rooted in a deep issue or opportunity that’s impactful (such as sustainability, education) or identifying specific communities to champion over the years. 

Pick issues that matter to your community

Listen to what’s being said on the ground. If a brand is not actively listening and refreshing how it’s helping the community, then its well-meaning activations could backfire. 

This is a good way to champion local causes and initiatives, particularly if you’re part of a global team where the broader corporate social responsibility goals may not directly impact your markets or region. Find a local nuance that makes sense for your community. 

Inspire your team

Start inspiring and engaging your own employees. If a brand is only seen as helping the larger community, while ignoring or mistreating their own, there is a huge disconnect. 

Your employees are your brand advocates, and being part of a purpose-driven brand attracts, motivates and retains employees. Outside of being proud of the impact they create, an engaged team could also lend their own creativity and ideas towards giving back to society and further driving your purpose. 

Take action 

Once your brand is ready to take action, don’t forget to continuously engage the benefactors and track your performance over time. 

Take a look at your user journey to see how you can activate your own consumers to drive awareness of the impact your contributions have made. Better yet, rope in your consumers so they also feel like they’re making a difference. 

As an example, Trouble Brewing, a local brewery in Singapore, launched an Adopt-A-Pub initiative that gives 10% of their proceeds to the consumers’ favourite bar, pub or restaurant at no additional cost. All it takes is a click at check-out for folks to give back to the Singapore F&B community. 

Communicate & learn

It’s important for brands to communicate with the right stakeholders on the right platform – and to avoid being called out as self-serving. Remember, you’re not doing good to drive publicity. Instead, when employees, customers and even benefactors spread the word, it’s a lot more impactful than sending out a press release. 

Companies also need to listen for feedback – and tweak their approach to remain relevant. 

At Mutant, we’re proud to help our clients engage and help our communities. Here is an example of how our team in Malaysia activated a much needed initiative within a record timespan.

How Kimberly-Clark Malaysia helped 16,000 families 

Kimberly-Clark, a brand that’s rooted in global social responsibility guidelines, wanted to make a meaningful contribution to help ease the burdens of Malaysians who have been affected by the pandemic. As residents were not allowed to venture past their neighbourhoods, they were reliant on donations for food and essential items. 

Mutant connected with the Federal Territories Ministry to identify communities that would most benefit from 1 million RM worth of essentials including diapers, feminine hygiene products and tissues. Kimberly-Clark was able to coordinate the delivery of the donations within a week, fulfilling the urgent need of the donations.

The Deputy Federal Territories Minister YB Dato’ Sri Dr Santhara Kumar shared a message of thanks to Kimberly-Clark, opening up doors to future collaboration.

If you’re keen on developing a brand purpose, or need help localising a global mandate, we’re here to help. 

Need help with messaging and connecting to the right stakeholders?  Drop us a line at [email protected] anytime – we’re here to help.

When Is It The Right Time To Do A Rebrand?

I’ve managed to find my way around the Internet a fair bit during the lockdown. Videos, podcasts, articles and tutorials; you name it, I’ve seen it. Lately, I’ve been discovering random facts and I’ve concluded that Mother Nature is the best source for the weirdest facts. 

For example: a caterpillar can eat up to 27,000 times its bodyweight in its lifetime.

It will consume everything it can, make itself ready for adulthood, and lay eggs, because as a caterpillar, it only has one job to do: survive.

I read this random fact and was reminded of something else I saw at a café in rural Australia. 

It was one of those cheesy inspirational quote signs, you know the ones. Deep and thoughtful, it was perched above the coffee machine and written in a hipster font. It read:

“In order to become a butterfly, you’ve got to give up being a caterpillar.”

The conundrum of the caterpillar is a particularly apt analogy for brands in the age of COVID-19 – and it hit particularly close to home for Mutant, as we’ve been thinking of refreshing our own brand image for a long time. It was a decision between staying the successful caterpillar we were or becoming a butterfly.  

Truth be told, we tussled with the decision. Our current branding is what has allowed us to grow for the past eight years, winning lots of new clients and bagging us multiple awards

Why should we give up what we are, when it has been proven to be successful?

In the end, we decided it was time to change. We needed to unveil who we have become as an agency, while still maintaining what we started out as, all while showing what we can offer businesses in uncertain times.

As our name suggests, it was time to evolve. 

So, when it comes to rebranding and updating your communications strategy, here are a few key questions you should ask yourself:

Does your branding reflect who you are now? 

Businesses evolve, and so do their offerings. What you may have started out as might not be indicative of your present state. If that’s the case, you should objectively examine what your brand says about you visually. 

Mutant started as a PR agency in 2012. Some of our first clients were corporate and tech names, and our muted, toned-down branding reflected that. Since then, we’ve built up one of the best content teams in SEA, as well as branding and digital marketing functions. 

The brands we work with now are diverse, including clients across the lifestyle, consumer, and back to our roots, in tech and corporate verticals. Upon further examination, we realised our branding just didn’t match up to our current identity, and that had to change.

Does it look good?

This sounds like a stupid question, but it’s a perfectly valid one. Imagine your brand as a sports car. It is perfectly tuned, efficient, and performs well – but if the paint is faded on the outside, people will never look at it twice. 

Mutant’s original branding was faded (literally, the green had a murky yellowish/green tinge to it). It simply wasn’t communicating the vibrance of our stellar team, and attitude towards work.

Is your branding flexible enough to grow?

Brand equity is something that a lot of people believe comes from consistency in applying your brand, making sure you don’t mess around with logos or colours – that sort of thing. And for the most part, that’s correct. 

However, consistency doesn’t mean having to use the exact same branding or logos until the end of time. Brands refresh themselves in order to ensure they remain relevant and are able to future-proof themselves. Over the past few years, we’ve become an international agency with an awesome team in Kuala Lumpur. So we wanted to ensure that if we were to expand across Southeast Asia, our new look should be able to incorporate any sub-brands or new offerings that might come about.    

Is now really the right time to do a rebrand?

In short, yes. Now is the best time to do it. Research shows businesses that pour more love into their brand and communications (whilst adapting their business model) will be the ones who come out the other side of COVID-19 stronger than ever. This rings true whether you’re a brewery fundamentally changing its sales model, or a PR company trying to conjure a brand identity that captures the full breadth of its services. 

Eyes are on screens, the audience is captive (literally!) and people are consuming information like never before. In a sea of uncertainty, your brand needs to be bold to stand out and communicate its updated identity proudly, loudly and effectively. 

Unless, of course, you want to stay a caterpillar. 

Ask us how we can help your branding efforts by contacting us at [email protected]

Want to Sell More? Focus On The Sizzle, Not The Steak

You might have come across two types of advertising – the one that aggressively displays a product and its attributes, and the one that have a story to tell. While there is a time and place for being a braggart, telling a story is how you can emotionally connect with your audience. This is usually a better option than shoving your product down people’s throats.

Elmer Wheeler, arguably the greatest salesman in the world, rightly said, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”

How do you know when your neighbour is preparing a prime cut of the juiciest meat available? When you can hear the satisfying sound of fat rendering on the grill. People make purchases because they want to feel a certain way, and that’s exactly what this meaty metaphor is about – sell the promise, not the product.

But us (always hungry) Mutants aren’t the only ones who believe in this the power of storytelling. If you’re looking for examples of campaigns that not only resonated, but drove success, here are three of our favourites hat successfully sold the sizzle:

Think Different (1997)

Watch closely, and you will notice that Apple never mentioned the names of their products in any of their ads. The TV commercials featured 17 icons who very much aligned with Steve Jobs’ definition of the “crazy ones”, but never directly talked about a Macintosh. Instead, Apple aimed to target those who identified as non-conformist, radical or free-spirited. Think Different was the winner of a campaign which propelled Apple Inc to technological and cultural greatness.

Unsung Heroes (2014)

Do you remember sobbing countless times to Thai ads, which consistently proved to be tearjerkers? Because we sure do. And we’ve usually always shed tears to what seemed to be a heartbreaking tale, only to be revealed as something completely unexpected. In Unsung Heroes, nearly three minutes are dedicated to portraying an emotional story that compels viewers to delve deep into their lives and themselves what it is they desire the most in life.

Smell Like A Man, Man (2010)

Can you believe this brilliant Old Spice campaign is ten years old already? Here’s the best part – instead of targeting its intended audience (straight men), it speaks to the women in their lives. The ads focused on highlighted the macho vibe associated with the product, but never the actual product itself.

Experts prefer to focus on selling the sizzle because it gives them the opportunity to reach a wider, hungrier audience. While you still have to present them with an actual steak, your audiences will be salivating, ready to tear into anything you serve.

Want to make your brand irresistible? Talk to us at [email protected]

Using data to get media attention isn’t as hard as you think

Your company is not special. Your product is probably not “revolutionary”. Very few people care that your best-selling system has a new feature – and I guarantee no one cares that you hired a new CFO.  

Sorry (not sorry) for the hard truths, but the simple fact is that most companies still don’t understand what makes a good story. What you think makes a great story is probably not the same as what a journalist considers to be a great story – this is mainly because journalists know their readers won’t care about what you have to say. To make things harder, shrinking newsrooms translate to journalists being more stretched than ever, so your press release will often go unread and that interview you pitched will likely never happen.

Now that’s all out of the way, it’s time for the good news: the best stories you possess have actually been at your disposal this whole time. Okay, there might be some digging around to find the right spreadsheets, but the point is you’re probably already sitting on a goldmine and you don’t even know it. 

Because the way to get a journalist’s attention is with – say it with me now – DATA! 

Even if you don’t have anything interesting to say, you can create news with data. When handled the right way and moulded into a usable story, data can deliver the media attention you have always wanted, but have never been able to achieve – even with paid content. 

But first, a quick PR lesson

Before we can talk about why data is essential to your PR strategy, we need to touch on why public relations might not currently be working for you. If you’ve been burned before by agencies that promise the world, but only hand over a ‘strategy’ that relies on press releases, then this is especially relevant for you: 

Despite what you may think, you are not important. A story is never going to be about how awesome your company or product is – that is not news. News is a story that’s broader than an announcement of something new (unless that new thing is incredibly timely). News is something that has impact and affects people’s lives or businesses. It’s timeliness, something close to  what we value, and something that carries a human interest angle or solves a conflict. News is unique and it carries consequences. News is not hyperbole and exaggerated claims of being “the best”, “the newest” or “the most revolutionary”. 

Your goal to get the media’s attention is to provide a reason for them to write about you. This means selling them a story, not a product, and avoiding your usual press releases chock-full of corporate jargon that says a lot about, well, nothing. If your press releases and pitches haven’t been picked up, it likely because you or your agency haven’t figured out how to tell your story in a compelling way. You need to speak the journalists’ language and give them information that can be turned into news – this is why they love data. 

Create the news for journalists using your own data 

If you think the only way to share news is via press releases, then how are you going to get anything written about you in between each pitch? When there’s no news to share, data is a vehicle that can be used to create news and provide new avenues and angles for journalists to explore, based on real, unique statistics that tell a story. There are a couple of ways you can do this: 

  1. Use a research agency to run a survey: This is the most expensive option, but a streamlined way to gather new data on a particular topic or issue across a broad sample. A good PR agency will get involved at the early stage of survey creation, ensuring the right questions are being asked to get the headlines you want at the other end.
  2. Run your own survey: You might not have the money for a research agency, but perhaps you have a big database of clients and customers? There are an abundance of online tools that allow you to send out surveys and questions to your existing and potential customers. Some agencies (*cough cough, hello!*) can help you manage this entire process from end-to-end to ensure you get the best and most accurate data.
  3. Delve into your own existing data: Chances are you’re sitting on a mountain of data that can actually be used to tell a story – you just need someone to identify what that story may be. This is why it’s often good to connect your communications team or agency to other parts of the business (such as the sales team) to better understand what data you have, and then to provide guidance on how it can be used in PR.
  4. Use third party research paired with your own thought leadership: If you don’t have any of the above, it doesn’t matter. There is so much research out there you can draw from to create interesting whitepapers and tip sheets on a topic. Add in some high-level commentary and thought leadership from your company’s key spokespeople, and you’ve got yourself a pretty compelling piece of content to share. 

Reverse engineer your approach 

When constructing your survey and data-led approach, you need to consider your end goals and work backwards from the headlines you want to achieve. This is why it’s so important to work with an agency partner that has a strong editorial team and understanding of how news editors operate. If you can provide a media outlet with exactly the right kind of headline and angle, you’re more likely to get the epic coverage you’re craving. 

For example, let’s say a recruitment company is looking to increase its contract roles in light of the growing gig economy, and needs to attract more employers to enlist their services in filling these roles. Ideally, they’re hoping to gain awareness via a PR push that gets their company name and expertise in front of their target demographic across trade and business publications.

The agency, understanding these goals, suggests a survey of both employees and employers in their target market and industries to find out what the biggest needs, challenges, and misconceptions are about gig economy workers, their salary expectations, key attraction factors and ultimate career goals. The survey questions are constructed to gather the most relevant information that can be used individually and comparatively, to result in potential compelling headlines such as: 

“One in three companies in Singapore are expanding workplace benefits to cover ‘gig’ talent” 

Or 

“Growth in Singapore’s gig economy workers set to grow by 30% in 2020” 

By understanding the types of headlines a client wants to achieve (specific to each target publication, of course) the agency can construct a better, more effective survey that asks the right questions. The end result? A compelling story that can be told in a newspaper, via a live broadcast interview, or written into a professionally designed report to share with both media and client customers. 

We won’t lie: a lot of work is required to turn this from ideation to execution, but the outcomes are well worth the effort. In fact, for one of our clients, a SG$15,000 investment in data-led insights resulted in a 3,000% ROI via the creation of a report and a push via PR and lead generation campaign.  

The content you can create with the right data is a story that never stops being told. Your data belongs to you, and you can use it across social media, to write blogs or to create entire advertising campaigns. You can continue to refer to your unique statistics and data-led insights for years to come, building crucial credibility and educating your customers not only on what you do, but why they should give a crap.

Need help talking to journalists? Drop us a line at [email protected]

 

The Power of Holiday Marketing (and not just at Christmas!)

Every year as festive seasons approach, consumers all over the world are flooded with a frenzy of marketing campaigns by brands looking to get a slice of the multi-billion dollar holiday shopping pie.

At the heart of the annual holiday marketing procession are the powerful Christmas ads. From Cadbury’s play on the “Secret Santa” ritual backed by an emotive soundtrack, to Heathrow airport’s adorable portrayal of an elderly bear couple coming home to celebrate with their family, brands are creating authentic association with consumers by showing them how a product or service can bring them closer to the people they love.

For giants like Coca-Cola, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer, this is now an annual tradition and year after year, consumers wait with bated breath to see the campaigns launched by these iconic brands. In fact, there is so much frenzy around Christmas ads, that every year, thousands of Twitter users mistakenly reach out to a U.S. based science lecturer John Lewis instead of the British departmental store by the same name. Twitter released a cheeky film around this last year showing Lewis painstakingly responding to the messages and giving us all some laughs.

But there’s a reason aside from emotional responses for these ads. Research has shown that consumers are inclined to spend more during festive periods (blame it on the holiday cheer!) and this presents a prime opportunity for brands to boost sales by capitalising on the increased purchasing power. Brands spend considerable time, money and resources to develop creative campaigns that cut through the clutter and grab consumer attention. But do these ads work?

The short answer is yes, they do. The festive air is rife with nostalgia, and ads with an emotional overtone strike a chord with consumers. This aids in customers forming deeper associations with brands –improving brand awareness and perception, and increasing consumers’ likelihood to purchase.

In terms of business results, well-executed campaigns that are emotionally engaging, and relevant to the occasion – with a clear association to the company’s product or service – do well. In terms of brand engagement and, more importantly, in terms of sales – Tesco, as an example, saw a 2.2% rise in UK sales following their successful 2018 Christmas ad.

Closer to home, Chinese New Year is one the biggest annual celebrations, and this year’s Singtel ad adopted a family-focused narrative that showed three young ‘CNY absconders’ who fly to Australia to avoid the traditions of Lunar New Year celebrations. Their joy at escaping their family during this festive time quickly turns to nostalgia, when one of them discovers a letter from her mother in her suitcase amidst clothes and jars full of homemade snacks.

While some brands tell powerful fictional stories, Indian jewellery brand Tanishq’sDiwali ad took viewers into the home of a leading film actress to show her family celebrating the festival in a simple manner – cleaning the house, making sweets and untangling lights. In a country where film actors are practically worshipped, the depiction of a mega star being grounded in her roots and celebrating the country’s biggest festival with family and simple traditions struck all the right chords.

As more brands jump onto the holiday marketing bandwagon, this is not just limited to mainstream celebrations anymore. Almost every major calendar event sees marketers creating specifically tailored campaigns, such as this Mother’s Day ad by Boots and Budweiser’s decision to remake old ads for International Women’s Day. A Valentine’s Day ad by Borosil India took a non-traditional approach to the day of love by featuring a young couple celebrating their first ever V-Day following the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India – another beautiful ad that celebrates a holiday as well as a cultural moment.

So, what makes a good holiday campaign? From animation and celebrity endorsement to good ol’ storytelling, brands are embracing different strategies for their year-round holiday marketing.

The key is simple: take basic human insight that is aligned with the brand’s core values and peg it to a relevant event to create an authentic association with the celebration.

Getting this formula right will not only bring immediate results in terms of engagement and sales, but the benefits of an effective campaign will extend long beyond the holiday itself, building a stronger brand identity and influencing purchase decisions in the long run.

Why Brands Should Consider Being Woke

Of late, brands have woken from their corporate slumber to take stances on socio-political issues. Diversity, racial and gender inequality, LGBT rights are just a few of the issues which companies have been addressing and incorporating into their brand—from marketing campaigns to core business values and beliefs.

Leading this politically aware pack is rebellion’s poster child Nike, which succeeded in raising eyebrows doing what other sports brands wouldn’t dare to do–courting the controversial Colin Kaepernick in its latest ad campaign. Nike is not alone in receiving heat for its marketing campaigns. Citibank became the first Wall Street Bank to restrict firearms sales by its business customers – a move both lauded and criticised by people on either sides of the gun control debate.

Enter purpose-driven brands, the latest entities to dominate today’s saturated, hyper-politicised media landscape. While maintaining an opinion used to be a right enjoyed solely by humans, the companies of the 21st century bear little resemblance to their corporate cousins from the previous century. Today, companies who fight the good fight resemble a sentient humanoid with well-rounded, coherent, and informed views on sensitive socio-political issues.

By right, the phenomenon of corporations being politically aware is not new — there have always been some who considered activism to be as important as their bottom-lines, if not more. In the Eighties, ice-cream company Ben and Jerry’s went against the grain by extending health benefits to same-sex couples–almost unprecedented in a time when homosexuality was deemed unnatural. The Body Shop’s Anita Roddick dedicated her entire life to being a vocal advocate for animal rights and environmental causes also while also managing a multi-million-dollar skincare and beauty business.

When firms assume positions on sensitive issues, they transcend their status as capitalist entities and resemble full-fledged humans. In short, by espousing the views of their consumer base they become just like the person they serve, or hope to serve.

Of course, brands with a global reach are likely to have a customer base diverse in thought and belief. Choosing a side in any hotly-debated political topic means alienating some customers on the socio-political spectrum–but also winning the endorsement of several others.

Down with the Youth

Many young people of today no longer view corporations (or capitalism, for that matter) as a positive force. Social media has made it much easier to document and scrutinise in detail the shortcomings of corporate entities. As millennials are one of the biggest consumers of online content, they have no difficulty in accessing vast amounts of information about the companies they patronise. More and more youngsters are taking time to educate themselves on critical socio-political and economic topics, and expect the same from the entities providing them with goods and services.

There is plenty of research to suggest that more young people resonate strongly with “woke” brands than other generations. Gen-Zs are a force to be reckoned with and command considerable financial influence. As a result, companies must work harder to retain relevance with those aged 16-35–and not just perform lip service in the form of rainbow filters and themed merchandise. Levi’s, American Eagle, and Converse are examples of companies who talk the talk and walk the walk–in addition to selling LGBT merchandise, they work with and donate to several organisations which support marginalised communities. Conversely, several consumers have boycotted fast food chain Chick-Fil-A, which reiterated its stance against gay marriage.

Look Beyond Yourself

The relationships brands share with consumers can no longer simply be transactional. Nowadays, people make informed choices regarding products, taking into account not only their own selves but also the wider ecosystem. For instance, consumers are turning to “ethically/responsibly sourced” or “cruelty-free/vegan” products (clothes, food, make-up) which are not environmentally detrimental. When a company goes out of its way to do good, it usually wins the unwavering support of loyal consumers.

If the corporations they patronise do not share their value system or do not make good on their promises, consumers will simply find another company whose actions resonate with their belief system. Consumers in the 21st century seek affirmation through the products and services they consume, and consider factors such as sustainability, inclusivity, and quality to be an integral part of their purchase and consumption journey. Urban Decay Cosmetics, Fenty Beauty, Patagonia and H&M are companies which put sustainability and inclusivity at the core of their businesses.

Court Quality Employees

The implications of a socially conscious brand extend not only to consumers, but also to employees. More millennials and Gen Z-ers are gravitating towards companies whose political stances and actions echo their own. Employees are likely to be happier and more productive in a socially-conscious firm. As an employer, if attracting the next generation of talented changemakers is a priority, then it’s time to start speaking to them in a language they understand.

Of course, purpose-driven brands are not without their naysayers. People proclaim that by latching themselves onto pressing issues, companies are distracting the gullible from considering their “dark deeds”. Keen observers of pop culture have been quick to point how the patterns of brands suddenly becoming social justice warriors is nothing more than late-stage capitalism — a ploy where companies use emotionally-charged marketing tactics to get tongues wagging, generating traction for themselves. In the case of a sports brand whose hard-hitting rebranding campaign proved to be highly profitable, netizens brought to light its unethical and inhumane business practices in foreign countries.

Picking a side is a risky move, both socially and financially. While established companies can weather consumer boycotts and other controversies, smaller firms struggling to establish themselves might not fare so well–unless they have very clearly defined goals and visions from the get-go.

Brands who wish to embrace a meaningful cause in addition to their business endeavours must be consistent in their efforts. For instance, a brand which champions gender equality while underpaying its female employees is clearly faking its wokeness to exploit the emotions of liberal youth. Its cause of choice must be relevant to the history or culture of the brand–if not, its efforts will appear to be shoehorned in and insincere.

Need help crafting an assertive voice? Talk to us at [email protected]

What Is a Content Strategy and Why Do I Need One?

It’s likely you’ve heard the term ‘content strategy’ thrown around lately, but unless you work in the world of content marketing, you probably are thinking, ‘What exactly is a content strategy?’. We’re here to help.

Depending on the brand you work for, the definition of content strategy may vary slightly, but broadly it is the creation and distribution of content that drives profitable customer action.

It’s easy to task marketing or PR departments with this type of work, but, really, content strategy leverages skills and knowledge from several different departments: the aforementioned marketing and PR, but also corporate communications, social media and even business development.

By leveraging knowledge from all of these spaces, a content strategy can help propel your company toward its goals and drive real business results. There are myriad benefits to a robust content strategy, but these are three of the biggest:

BRAND CONSISTENCY

Keeping your brand’s voice and style consistent across all types of content (think press releases, marketing collateral, social media posts, the corporate website, and beyond) while also effectively communicating your brand’s message can be a surprisingly big challenge, especially if there are multiple staff members writing and posting content.

By creating brand guidelines – from preferred grammar style to design instructions regarding corporate logos, fonts and colours to social media instructions – everyone on your team will have access to an editorial starter kit that will help them craft content that aligns with your business’s established voice.

SEAMLESS, STRESS-FREE COMMUNICATIONS ROLL-OUT

Launching a new campaign, unveiling a corporate rebrand or announcing an exciting business development, though thrilling, comes with its fair share of stress. Making sure that the announcement goes live across all channels simultaneously can be a shockingly large headache, and even with brand guidelines available, it can still be difficult to ensure consistency across all channels – especially if social media is involved, and even more so if you’re responding to your audience or media in real time.

But with a concrete content strategy surrounding whatever your big news may be – from the initial communication to community management – you can rest easy knowing that the development won’t be overshadowed by frustrated members of your audience complaining about not having all the information on every social media channel or by a content misstep that goes viral.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Even if becoming a thought leader isn’t on your list of career goals, it’s undeniable that media exposure can be beneficial for both your business and your personal brand. An influential aspect of a truly 360-degree content strategy – and one that may not be a typical suggestion from an in-house department – is positioning senior team members as industry experts through thought leadership pieces, op-eds and broadcast or radio interviews.

By sharing your perspective and business insights in a clear, precise manner, you can not only make a splash in the business community, but may become an expert that journalists look to when they need a quote, which in turn can make your business top-of-mind for people of all stripes.

These benefits are just a few of the ways a dynamic content strategy can impact your business. If you are looking to invest in this type of communications plan or want a bit more information, feel free to reach out to us – we’re always happy to chat about crafting content!

Need help crafting an effective content strategy? Drop us a line at [email protected].

Tips on using PR to build a brand for small businesses

For most small businesses with limited resources, public relations tend to be overlooked as a viable business strategy.. However, an effective public relations strategy can be incredibly valuable. In many cases, it is a cost effective way of getting your brand out there and building a strong reputation without the expensive cost of traditional advertising.

So, if you run a small business, consider these tips  to get the right kind of attention your brand needs – all without breaking the bank:

Find the right people

Journalists are constantly getting emails with story pitches that don’t often relate to their beat. To cut through the clutter, make sure what you are sending their way is relevant to their publication, and what they cover.

Do your research to find out who you should be targeting, and spend time understanding their publication. Reading what journalists are currently tracking and covering is a good starting point in building a media list. Remember, journalists who are already interested in the space you’re in are more likely to publish what you have to say.

Know what the media needs

Sure, your story is important to you, but is it newsworthy? The key to a well-written press release is not imbuing it with flowery language; it’s nailing down a compelling news angle and getting straight to the point. Journalists are often on the go just like you, so go with a punchy headline to grab the journalist’s attention, and keep it short and sweet.

Strike while the iron is hot

Sometimes, tying your announcement in with a timely moment can help give it an extra boost through that connection. If you’re launching a new product, do a bit of research to find out if there are any upcoming events, occasions or even trending topics that are relevant to your product. Use a recent trending topic that is linked directly to features of your business or business model. For instance, McDonalds struck gold with their nasi lemak-inspired burger by launching it ahead of Singapore’s 50th National Service anniversary. A clever spin on a classic dish, the burger was a massive hit thanks to its local appeal and opportune release date.  Connecting the two can enable you to tap on that trending issue.

Communicate your expertise

Even as a small business owner, you are still an authority in your field. Communicate that expertise by positioning yourself as an expert in the industry, and build yourself up as a thought leader with a story to tell the media. There’s always a story to tell, you’ve just got to find the right angle to communicate it. The key here is to step out of living and breathing your product. Showing thought leadership requires you to go beyond just how amazing your product is. You will have to demonstrate your understanding on the issues faced by your target audience and how you can solve them.

Make it visual

In today’s multiscreen world, people respond well to visuals. If you’re pitching a story involving data and numbers, putting them into one neat infographic can bring your story to life. You will be surprised at how much a good image can enhance your press release or media kit. It is definitely worth the investment to have a professional come in to take pictures of your products and spokespeople.

Getting your brand off the ground when you’re running a lean operation may be a daunting task, but when done right, an effective PR campaign tailored to the needs of your small business can do wonders – even with limited resources.

Need a helping hand on getting your brand and voice out there? Reach out to [email protected]

9 Things we learned at the Asia Global Content Forum 2017

“What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” What was true for Ogilvy in the 1960s is still relevant today.

Content creators from various industries, including Mutant’s content team, gathered at the Asia Global Content Forum 2017 in Singapore to discuss the challenges in the creation and deployment of content across markets in the region.

Here are a few insights we gleaned during the forum:

1. SEO is still relevant

Although marketers have started to shift their attention from keyword to producing quality content, search engine optimisation is still crucial for content to reach the right audience. Remember that in a world where the destination is everything, we need to know how to get there. Search is a brand’s signpost.

All marketers understand (or should understand) how ‘search’ works and why certain pages rank higher for a particular keyword than others. If keyword stuffing is still your modus operandi, then you need to read more about how content and SEO can work together. 

SEO is still relevant, but it shouldn’t be your main focus. Rather, it should be one part of your content marketing strategy. Marketers can get hung up the ROI gained by SEO, but it’s the wrong question to ask. Focus instead on overall quality content and then how to get it in front of people.

2. Interactive Marketing from Stranger Things

The wildly popular Netflix series Stranger Things might seem at first glance just a sci-fi-inspired show for teens. But the series’ dark, perplexing world has captivated millions of viewers from around the globe  (not least thanks to a healthy dollop of 1980s nostalgia for the adults). The TV drama shows the unknown, and the emotions unleashed by it, appeal to audiences the world over.  

Netflix has taken advantage of this fascination and made their promotions for season 2 interactive with a free mobile game, including trailers and short preview clips. What do we learn from an old-fashioned 2D game about a strange world? We want to be part of it.

Bringing Stranger Things into daily life, Netflix also partnered with Lyft, making car rides strangely entertaining – including a vomited slug, which is something that not many brands would dare try. The promo resulted in increased Lyft requests and a spike in social media mentions.

3. Don’t neglect the notion of play

When it comes to the concept of play it’s hard to not think of LEGO. The brand has been at the forefront of playful marketing for decades. While LEGO is traditionally a toy for kids, the company has managed to get the attention of their parents (and other adults, too), by enabling them to experience and relive the playfulness of their youth.

One such example is the LEGO Kronkiwongi Project. LEOG asked children around the world to build a ‘Kronkiwongi’, not giving any instructions but letting the imagination of kids running wild. The creations were shared with parents on Facebook, resulting in thousands of further submissions and a significant uplift in brand connection to imagination and creativity.

Other reasons why LEGO is a content hero:

  • They engage adults with movies
  • They capitalise on the success of other brands (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Batman, …)
  • LEGO tells universal stories of good against evil that resonate in every  language
4.  Authenticity is key

With more than 2 million blog posts written daily and more than 1 million photos posted on Facebook every 60 seconds, it’s becoming harder and harder to get your message across. According to HubSpot, 65% of companies state that generating leads and traffic is their top marketing challenge.

Having an authentic message is crucial to catching people’s attention. But it is not all. Marketers also need to find the right channel to amplify their message. So, tailor your brand’s message for each of your marketing channels.

5. Convey value early

When Facebook decided to play videos in the newsfeed automatically, marketers saw a huge opportunity. What seemed like a mere convenience to users is a game-changer for brands. Conveying value early in videos has become crucial for companies to increase their awareness and message association.

Remember that users have an increasingly shorter attention span. So, when creating content, make sure you come straight to the point. No matter the what market in which you operate, offering readers and viewers value is increasingly important. Read more about brand video content.

6. Never be stagnant

Best practices (for writing, SEO, email marketing and more) are great. But if everyone is following best practice then no one is doing anything different. Benchmark other brands’ methods to get a better understanding of what works, but don’t copy them step by step. If you want to succeed – be creative and unique. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

7. Curate to tell a story

User-generated content can be an amazing addition to your marketing efforts. Social media makes it fairly easy for marketers to run campaigns that incentivise audiences to create content for you.

But don’t forget about storytelling. In order to tell your brand’s story, you need to curate user-generated content or risk your brand message becoming a jumble.

8. Localisation is the way to go

It might be obvious to some people, but what works in Australia does not work in Singapore – and vice versa. Each market deserves its own ideas. If you as a marketer can’t operate at market level, you are wasting your money. Spend your effort on interrogating people locally to get a feel for the pulse and speed of things.

While algorithms for natural language translation are becoming more prevalent, they aren’t at the point where niche terminology and industry terms are accurately translated and localised.

9. Market expansion with content

When rolling into a new market content is key. But it’s also a major issue for many companies. Having a well-running content platform in one market and wanting to launch it in a new market is not as easy as it seems.

Want to know where to begin? Read more about how to get your brand heard in a new market.

Need help with developing creative content – drop us a message at [email protected]